Factors That Can Affect Alimony in a High-Net-Worth Divorce
Factors in Determining Florida Spousal Support
Divorce can be a complicated and emotional process, especially when there are significant assets involved. One of the most important aspects of a high-net-worth divorce is determining alimony, which is financial support paid by one spouse to the other.
In Florida, alimony awards can vary widely based on several factors, including the length of the marriage, the earning capacity of each spouse, and the lifestyle of the couple during the marriage. In this blog post, we'll explore some of the key factors that can affect alimony in a high-net-worth divorce in Florida.
The Length of Your Marriage
One of the most significant factors that can affect alimony in a high-net-worth divorce is the length of the marriage. Under Florida Statute § 61.08 (4), marriages that last for less than seven years are considered short-term marriages. A moderate-term marriage refers to a union that lasts between seven and 17 years, and a long-term marriage is considered a marriage that lasts for 17 years or longer.
In Florida, the length of your marriage can affect what type of alimony the court will award as well as how much spousal support payments can be. If your marriage was short-term, you are much less likely to be awarded permanent spousal support unless there are special circumstances.
To learn more about the types of alimony awarded in Florida, read our blog, “Types of Alimony in Florida.”
Each Party’s Earning Capacity
The earning capacity of each spouse is another critical factor in determining alimony in a high-net-worth divorce. If one spouse earns significantly more than the other, the courts may award alimony to help maintain the lower-earning spouse's financial stability after the divorce.
However, if both spouses have similar earning capacities, the courts may not award any alimony or may award a smaller amount, as your earning capacity and need for support are considered. Your divorce attorney can help you assess your earning capacity and negotiate an appropriate alimony arrangement.
It is also important to note that the court will consider how either party’s current health can affect their earning abilities. The court will also typically consider factors such as age and the individual's ability to earn a living to determine the amount of alimony they're entitled to.
The Lifestyle Established During the Marriage
The court will also consider “the standard of living established during the marriage” when determining spousal support. If you and your spouse enjoyed a luxurious lifestyle with expensive homes, vacations, and other extravagances, the courts may award higher alimony to help maintain that lifestyle for the lower-earning spouse.
However, if your lifestyle during the marriage was modest, the courts may award lower alimony or no alimony at all. Your attorney can help you collect evidence of your lifestyle during the marriage to support your alimony claims.
Child Custody and Support Determinations
Child custody and support can also affect alimony in a high-net-worth divorce. If you have children, the courts will consider the needs of the children when determining alimony.
For example, if one spouse has primary custody of the children, the courts may award higher alimony to help support the children's needs. Additionally, if one spouse is paying substantial child support, the courts may reduce the alimony award to avoid overburdening that spouse.
Property Division Determinations
In high-net-worth divorce cases, the division of property and assets can also impact alimony payments. The spouses’ assets and accumulated wealth, including their businesses, investments, and real estate holdings, can play a crucial role in determining the amount of alimony. The court will consider the assets and property each spouse owns and their value when deciding on the amount, duration, and frequency of alimony payments.
The court may consider the misconduct of either spouse when awarding alimony in a high-net-worth divorce. If the court determines that a spouse's misconduct affected the other party’s financial health or future, it can impact the alimony award. Florida law states that the court can consider “any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties,” which means that the court may consider either party’s martial misconduct, such as:
- Wasteful dissipation of assets